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Since 1996, That Uppity Theatre Company has focused on developing projects that bring together amateur performers with professional artists to create innovative material based on lived experience. In 1995, theatre artist Joan Lipkin and occupational therapist Fran Cohen co-founded "the DisAbility Project." Comprised of people with and without disabilities to model inclusion, the project creates and tours original material about the culture of disability. We have performed for almost 100,000 people, received numerous awards and international recognition as one of the oldest and few projects of its kind in the country. (more...)

Biographies


Joan Lipkin (Artistic Director)
Joan Lipkin is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company in St. Louis, Missouri. Her company founded the nationally acclaimed Alternate Currents/Direct Currents Series, The DisAbility Project, Diverse Works and the Louies. A strong proponent of collaboration, she also co-founded Women CenterStage! with the Center of Contemporary Arts, the Nadadada Festival at The Forum for Contemporary Art, Democracy on Stage with the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, and the Mid-Sized Arts Cooperative.

Joan specializes in creating works with socially relevant themes and underserved populations. Her company has received numerous commissions from various organizations. She has worked extensively with people with disabilities, women with cancer, GLBTQ youth and adults, people with early stage dementia and Alzheimer’s and at risk youth.

A playwright, director, activist, educator, and social critic, her award-winning work has been published and produced throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She has been featured on network television, National Public Radio, the BBC and the Associated Press and in a number of theatrical journals.


Fran Cohen (Co-Founder of The DisAbility Project, Consultant, Board Member)
Joan Lipkin and occupational therapist Fran Cohen co-founded the DisAbility Project in 1996 and Fran was instrumental in helping to guide our group for many years.  Fran died in July 2012 and we cherish her memory still. Fran received her B.S. from Washington University and her M.S from the University of Missouri. She was the Director of O.T. St. Louis University Hospital, Truman Restorative Center O.T., and Adult day Care American Red Cross. She has served as faculty for Washington. University’s Program in Occupational Therapy. She has acted as an Occupation Therapy consultant in nursing homes and private agencies. She has served on numerous boards over the years, including the Naral Foundation, That Uppity Theatre Company, and the Steering Committee of the Arthritis Foundation Silver Ball. Fran was key in the identification of issues and audiences pertinent to our work.

Vanessa Roman (Artistic Associate) began her career working in theater in 2001, while she was earning her degree in English/Media Communications from Webster University. Since then she has worked for many professional theater companies in the St. Louis area, acting, directing and as an award winning produced playwright. Currently, she is resident director and dramaturge for First Run Theatre as well as serving as President of the St. Louis chapter of MCA (Media Communications Association). In addition to theater, she is also an award winning screen writer and director. Ms. Roman has appeared in, and written and directed several films that have played internationally.

Kevin Chestnut (Assistant Administrative Director, Stage Manager)
Kevin Chestnut has a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Kansas. He does online academic proofreading and is a nonviolence activist who has worked for full community inclusion ever since arriving in St. Louis through VISTA in 1978. He founded the diverse Leader Support Groups program in the city and conducted its sessions for many years. He has done funding development for Missouri’s phone relay for the deaf and hearing-impaired, for the Lewis and Clark Institute’s summer youth programs, and for the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations, where he was a northside neighborhood organizer for 10 years. Kevin also served several years on the board of RAVEN to work against domestic violence.

Becky Galambos (Arts Administration Assistant) is an alumna of William Jewell College in Liberty, MO where she was an active member of Jewell Theatre Company and Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honorary while pursuing a B.A. in History. During her time with JCT, she was frequently seen in character roles, and was active behind the scenes in the costuming, set construction and various other technical crews. She made her directing debut with Anton In Show Business with JCT in 2005. In addition to theatrical interests, Becky is a quilter and textile artist, active in Flower Valley Quilt Guild, and is a member of the First Monday Quilters charity quilting group. 


 

Justin Ivan Brown (Guest Artist)
As our resident professional guest artist, Justin plays a vital role in supporting the work of the DisAbility Project ensemble members. He has appeared in Brooklyn Boy with The New Jewish Theatre, Fugitive Songs with Echo Theatre Company, and Into the Woods with Stray Dog Theatre. Justin is a graduate of Ball State University's Theatre and Dance Department and has been working in theatre for the last 14 years.


 

Sara Burke (Choreographer)
Sara is the owner and director of The City Studio Dance Center. A dancer, choreographer, and photographer, she has a degree in Theatre and Dance from Saint Louis University. She is a member of the Board of Directors of DanceBrazil, New York, and a Commissioner on the Regional Arts Commission (RAC). Sara has an extensive background in Dunham Technique and danced with Miss Katherine Dunham. She has studied and danced throughout the world, including Brazil and Spain.

 

Aarya Sara Locker (Guest Artist)
Aarya began her work with the DP in 2009, as Associate Artistic Director. In 2011 she became a Guest Artist, functioning as a director, writer and performer. Aarya has performed as a clown with Cirque du Soleil, demonstrated fight at The Globe Theatre in London, and has worked as an artist and educator with Shakespeare & Company, The Indiana Repertory Theater, Saint Louis Repertory Theater, HotCity, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, The Black Cat Theatre and New Jewish Theater. Aarya is committed to advocating underserved populations through the arts and regularly works with youth in the St. Louis juvenile detention system through Prison Performing Arts. She has experience as an arts educator in working with individuals of varied abilities, including those living with autism, cerebral palsy, blindness, Down syndrome, spinal cord injury, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. She enjoys collaborating with artists in an inclusive environment. In her leisure time, she is learning trapeze and other aerial arts and loves to cook.


Joe O'Connor is a professional artist who joined the ensemble in 2013. He was born and raised in Jersey City and is a graduate of Seton Hall University and the Drama Studio of London. He was on the board for All Souls Players in New York City for ten years and has worked in most every area of the theater for over 40 years, and has worked in St. Louis theater for the last seven years. Favorite roles include those of Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man, Thomas Cromwell in A Man For All Seasons, and Bottom the Weaver in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

 

J.T. Ricroft (Choreographer)
J.T. has performed, directed and choreographed throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean. His work includes a national tour of "A Christmas Carol," vocals on Carmen's "Revival in the Land," Opryland USA, Busch Gardens, various cruise ships, music videos, and industrials. In St. Louis, he has worked with New Line Theatre, Kirkwood Theatre, Spotlight Theatre, the Robert E. Lee, Union Station, and the DisAbility Project and the Louies. He has won several Arts for Life awards for his directing and choreography. J.T. is on staff at Leaping Lizard's Performing Arts Studio for dance and acting instruction.

Marissa Roman is a performer new to the DP this year. She has been acting since the age of six when she did an award-winning short film called All Fall Down. Since then, she has gone on to do five more films, winning Best Juvenile actress at The St. Louis Filmmaker's Showcase in 2010. When she was 11, she played the role of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker for Clayton Community Theater. She continued with many more stage roles at First Run Theatre and at Parkway North High School. She particularly enjoyed the roles of Gayle in Almost Maine and Evelyn in The Children's Hour. Her film roles attracted the attention of Los Angeles agent Valentina Graham and she is currently represented both in St. Louis and in Los Angeles.

 

Felicia Scott A native St. Louisan, Felicia Scott (AKA "Scotti") has been part the local arts scene for years. Majoring in music at Fontbonne University (voice, education, and music-business), she has been recognized for her vocal talents in classical, jazz/blues, and gospel music as well as her leadership in the arts community, beginning with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the recording arts. Scotti became a household name and recognized voice-over talent from her music segment on the popular "Lavender Limelight" community radio show during the late 90s and her jazz show on local radio stations. She is also well-known for her work as Executive Director and DJ of Wired Women, Inc., a production company that supported the St. Louis women’s community for over 20 years by producing concert events and hosting women's dances across the St. Louis metropolitan area. Currently, she serves as a volunteer Chaplain and works professionally as a human resources consultant.

Jessica Sibert (Performer) joined the DP this year and has been acting since junior high school. In addition to her stage work, she has participated in children's traveling theater troupes and reader's theater. Her favorite shows include Scrooge, Seussical, The Christmas Show, and Don't Feed the Bully. She also performed with The Epic Historical Singers of MDA Central Casting Studio. Her most recent project was performing The Brother's Grimm Spectaculathon with ACTT where she played Rapunzel and Cinderella. She had a lead role in the play Tony and Liz Tie the Knot with Inspired Productions Theater, a play and interactive dinner theater, the annual fundraiser for Action for Autism performed at the Gaslight Theater, and then picked up for a second run in Troy, Missouri.

 

Angie Bilyeu (Performer) has been acting since age 10 and joined the DP the summer of 2013.  She attended St. Louis University and graduated early with a B.A. in Theatre with a minor in Communication.  She was a member of the Alpha Psi Omega theatre honors fraternity and treasurer of Alpha Psi Omega for 2 years.  She works full time for her family home remodeling business as office manager, part time as a bartender/barback in Carbondale, and has a business that she started with a friend 5 years ago scooping up after dogs.  Acting is her passion and she plans to pursue a film career in L.A. as well as a little stage work.

 

Malia Wirtel (Performer) received her BFA in Theatre from Stephens College in Columbia, MO.  Since graduating, she has worked for the Kentucky Repertory Theatre as a resident actor & director and recently moved back to St. Louis.  She feels blessed to be working with the DisAbility Project and all of its talented members.

 

 


 

Bobbie Williams (Performer) is a professional actress and entertainer who serves as Artistic Associate with the project and has been performing in the ensemble since 2011. She has worked as a college tutor and work aide to students who are blind or differently abled, as well as an instructional aide for elementary students from seven countries. She has acted and sung throughout the country and in St. Louis has been seen in performances with Metro Theater, Stray Dog Theatre, First Run Theatre, Soundstage Productions, Footlighters Theatre, and Unity Ensemble.

 

Tom Allen (Performer)
Tom is a native New Yorker. In 1980, he received his Master's degree in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina. Since then, he has supported himself by the sale of his paintings, and by tutoring math and accounting. Tom has recently exhibited and sold his work at the St. Louis Artists' Guild.

He has been a member of the DisAbility Project for over five years. His love of acting comes only second to his love for painting. As a result of brain tumors, Tom has epilepsy and is blind in one eye. He says it doesn't stop him from painting or living to his fullest.

David Eric (Performer)
David has been acting with the DP since 2009.  He was raised in St. Louis, moved to Jefferson County in the 6th grade, and attended Hillsboro High School. He says the only thing he made good grades at was Drama, so he studied acting at Webster University's Conservatory of Theatre Arts for two years before he became disabled with myelopathy, a condition that tightens his leg muscles so he can no longer walk. He has also performed with Metropolitan Community Church Theater.

 

Lucy “Lockett” Grondahl (Performer)
Born in St. Louis, Lucy is a professional storyteller who has performed from Florida to California, and several times at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City. She writes many of her own stories and has an entry in the anthology "Blindness Isn’t Black", which is entitled “The Chicken Lickin’ Dog.” Lucy joined the DisAbility Project in December 2009. She has been in a wheelchair for ten years due to arthritis. Lucy’s life philosophy is, “Life can’t always be easy, but it can always be fun!”

 


 

Ana Jennings (Performer) has been acting with the DP since 2000, has a spinal cord injury, and uses a power wheelchair. She has volunteered doing voice-overs for KDHX and continually advocates for people with all types of disabilities. She has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

 


 

Bryan Jones (Performer)
has been with the DP since 2003. The nature of his disability is Ethlers Danlos Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder of the connective tissues in his arms and legs and limits the weight he is able to lift. He also has cognitive disabilities. He was a groundskeeper at the St. Louis Zoo and worked in an after-school program at Avery School in Webster Groves. Currently he serves as an advocate for Paraquad.

 


 

Margaret Jorgensen (Performer) has been with the DP since 2007. Her disability was acquired and diagnosed six years earlier. She has two forms of arthritis that limit her mobility (degenerative joint disease and rheumatoid arthritis) and uses a manual wheelchair for mobility. She has been a writer, editor, and photographer for over 20 years, most recently at the Ste. Genevieve Herald for 10 years. She has a degree in Writing and Journalism from Missouri State. Currently, she works at a sheltered workshop.

What we are doing...


Since 1996, That Uppity Theatre Company has focused on developing projects that bring together amateur performers with professional artists to create innovative material based on lived experience. In 1995, theatre artist Joan Lipkin and occupational therapist Fran Cohen co-founded the DisAbility Project. Comprised of people with and without disabilities to model inclusion, the project creates and tours original material about the culture of disability. We have performed for almost 100,000 people, received numerous awards and international recognition as one of the oldest and few projects of its kind in the country.

We rehearse most Thursdays in space donated by Central Reform Congregation, in the Central West End of the city of St. Louis. Most rehearsals are open to the public. Our season runs September through July, with the majority of our performances taking place throughout Missouri and Illinois.

People with disabilities are typically absent from representation and participation in our cultural landscape. According to the 2000 Missouri Census, an estimated 17% of the population in the state experiences some form of disability, whether it is sensory, cognitive, or mobility related. With over 55 million people with disabilities in the United States, it is the largest and most financially challenged population in the country.

Now in its 17th season, the DisAbility Project brings awareness and sensitivity to issues in the disability community through a combination of art and advocacy that tours to a variety of audiences. The project presents at educational institutions, conferences, special events, festivals, religious and civic groups, and corporations.

Our group is comprised of people with and without disabilities who are diverse in age, race, ethnicity, class, occupation, education, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, and performance experience.

Some of the challenges facing participants include alcoholism, amputation, asthma, bipolar disorder, blindness, brain injury, cancer, cerebral palsy, cognitive delay, depression, Down syndrome, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, polio, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, and stroke.

Ensemble members engage in conversation, writing, sound, movement and theatrical exercises to create educational and entertaining performance pieces on the culture of disability. Many people with disabilities are finding both a sense of community and an outlet for their talents in the project, while our artists without disabilities have had their worldview expanded.

In recognition of our groundbreaking work, we have received numerous awards including the Governor’s Council on Disability Community Enhancement, Focus What's Right with the Region for Improving Racial Equality and Social Justice, John van Voris, Human Rights Campaign Organizational Equality Award, and Arts for Life Special Recognition among others.

Ensemble's Thoughts


"For me, the DP is a group of friends getting together for laughs and to create art--and by the way we also promote advocacy for the disabled and create awareness and education for those not familiar with the culture of disability or those who may be disabled. The DP offers something that no other group offers unconditional acceptance. Being with my pals in the group uplifts me, even when I'm having the worst of days. We laugh, we cry, we create awareness. I volunteered with the DP because of my love of theater...I stay with the group because of my love for what we do, who we are and what we stand for."
Melissa Humbarger, Member

"Originally, it meant just an opportunity to create some theater with a woman who was nationally known in performance art circles. I wasn't necessarily attracted to or repulsed by the subject matter of the theater we would be creating, just interested in getting some acting experience. Of course, it has come to mean much more to me. It has raised my consciousness in a way that I was not aware needed raising. It has helped me to lose my fear of disability. It has made me realize that we can handle whatever God has given us. It's taught me that we can not only survive calamity but thrive as well. I hope it's made me a more sympathetic and empathetic human being. And it's given me lots of theater acting and writing experience!"
Rich Scharf, Member

"Being a member of the DisAbility Project changed my life. It has offered me the opportunity for self-expression; a creative forum in which to have my message heard. Performing tickles my sense of humor, and sparks my joy in being before an audience. Also, group members fill me socially with safety, friendship and love."
Stuart Falk, Member

"The DisAbility Project has given me a chance to let down my defenses with in the safety of accepting and supportive friends. Our performances give me a chance to express myself with out having to struggle to find the right words. I look forward to our meetings and our performances. The DisAbility Project is helping me to let go of my fears and open up to others. It brings much joy into my life and has given me friends with whom I can be myself.

I look forward to all our gigs. I get a lot of joy out of our performances. Performing gives me a chance to express myself without struggling to find the right words. Thank you for the opportunities you've given me to do this."
Tom Allen, Member

"The DisAbility Project blows me away! I'm so honored to be able to work with such talented, creative and loving human beings. As I've said at the closing of many shows, the project is in essence like a support group for me. Yet, instead of complaining about our individual woes and challenges, we create art. Through this art we are able to inform, inspire, enrich and enlighten. I know that in the six months I've been with the Project, I've grown tremendously in spirit and knowledge."
Tommy Smith, Member

"Working with The DisAbility Project gives me the opportunity to flesh out ideas that deal with poetic physical metaphors. It's a chance to sharpen my skills as a teacher and director, teaches me valuable lessons in choosing words carefully and allows me to share my creativity with a very receptive group of performers."
Karen Werner, Choreographer

"Four years ago, I joined The DisAbility Project. Since I became a member of the ensemble, I’ve developed a great deal more self-respect with the knowledge that I’m making a difference in how people look at disability. My own perspective on disability has also changed. I used to feel very self-conscious about my disability. Now, I find myself motivated to find new ways to adapt. The DisAbility Project is a great support system. I’ve made new friendships, and feel far less isolated than I used to. Acting on stage has helped me improve my speech, too."
Thea de Luna, Member

"It has been a wonderful experience working with the DisAbility Project as a choreographer. In the past, I have worked exclusively with able bodied, usually trained dancers. Working with this group has allowed me to explore completely new movement vocabularies. Besides, what a terrific group of people they are. The DP always leaves me inspired."
F. Reed Brown, Choreographer

"When I was 19 years old, my mother convinced me to get my eyes examined. I had been complaining about not being able to see road signs at night or recognize faces from a distance. I thought, "my eyes may not be perfect, but I'm functioning just fine". But, I went anyway. They switched these lenses back and forth over each eye while I told them which one looked best. Then they made me a pair of glasses and brought them out to me. Miraculous! I put them on and looked out into the mall. Signs had individual letters on them, people's faces were up close, and everything had definition!! This vivid world had always existed, but I was blind to it. I didn't know what I was missing.

Like new lenses, my involvement with DP has given me an invaluable outlook on the world as it truly exists for a large population of people. Shouldn't we strive to know what this earthly experience is like for all people? By doing so, we expand our understanding and our very souls."
Wendy Weigh, Member

" My biggest accomplishment so far has been my work with That Uppity Theatre Company and The DisAbility Project, under the leadership of Joan Lipkin. Working with the ensemble has fostered my creativity and given me opportunities that I never would have had otherwise. And I have made life-long friends. People whom I think of as family. Last year, when times were tough for the group due to several illnesses and absences, I had the chance to understudy another woman with a disability who has been a great inspiration to me. She became a quadriplegic after a car accident. She has a funny, moving piece about her dating experiences before and after the accident, and how she found the love of her life. I performed this piece for students at Washington University during a performance on “Able-ism.” I also performed it in theatre class, and got an A. Before working with the Project, I wouldn’t have imagined performing in front of an audience. The DisAbility Project has given me confidence as a young actor and in every area of my life."
Alison Chancellor, Member

"As a member of The DisAbility Project ensemble, I’ve made new friends, visited new places, and discovered talents I didn’t know I had. Being in the DP gives me confidence, and motivates me to explore my capabilities."
Drew Sughero, Member

"[W]orking with The DisAbility Project, I have finally found an outlet for my creativity. It’s given me more than just a chance to perform again on stage. It’s given me comradeship, confidence, and hope. Now I know, as far as my ambition is concerned, the sky’s the limit.

Love, understanding, and compassion are unique to the DisAbility Project. The DisAbility Project is family to me."
Laroy Smith, Member

"I have watched members of the group gain confidence, poise, self assurance, the ability to work as a team member. I have watched people become less reticent, more willing to share themselves and their feelings. Their ability to perform for large audiences and interact with them has enabled them to interact socially in other situations. Bonding in the DP ensemble, I think, can help in forming relationships with other people. Learning lines and rehearsing vignettes has helped those with cognitive problems, and with focusing.

As an Occupational Therapist I am committed to helping people with disabilities reach their full potential and be part of the mainstream of life. The DP, in a natural, uncontrived way, helps the participants learn to take risks and experiment more. It helps them feel good about themselves because they are doing something constructive to help change peoples' perceptions about disability.

I have observed the group in the process of performing gain confidence, poise, self assurance, and the ability to work as a team member. Participants have become less reticent, more willing to share themselves and their feelings. Performing for and interacting with large audiences has enabled them to more easily interact socially in other situations. The bonding that has occurred with the DP ensemble has helped members to form relationships with others. Learning lines and rehearsing vignettes has helped those with cognitive and focusing problems.

The DisAbility project is a powerful tool for enriching the lives of the participants and all disabled people as well as changing societal perceptions about disability."
Fran Cohen, BS, MS. Retired faculty, Washington University in St. Louis, Program in Occupational Therapy. Colleague and co-founder

"The DisAbility Project has enabled me to do what I love; performing. My younger years were filled with live theater experiences. An auto accident in 1990 put me on wheels. I rolled into my first rehearsal with the Project and felt right at home."
Katie Bannister, Member

Where have we performed?


Conferences and Fairs
American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers
Assistive Technology Consumer Fair
Association of Legal Administrators
Association of Travel Instruction
Diversity Awareness Partnership, "Give Respect-Get Respect" program
Fair Housing (Equal Housing Opportunity Council)
Gateway to Diversity (Greater St. Louis Federal Executive Board)
International Parish Nurses
International Society for Disability Studies
Missouri Business Leadership Network
Missouri State Convention of Student Council Associations
National Association of Dual Diagnoses
National Benevolent Association
7th Annual HUD Conference
Parent-to-Parent
St. Louis Art Fair
St. Louis Dance Festival Showcase
St. Louis Regional Arts Commission
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Women
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Institute of Human Development’s AmeriCorps Missouri

Churches and Temples
Central Reform Congregation
Christ Church Cathedral
Epiphany United Church of Christ
First Unitarian Church
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis
Shaare Emeth
Union Avenue Christian Church
United Hebrew Congregation

Elementary, Middle, and High Schools
Affton High School
Affton Special School District
Alton High School
Athena Elementary School
Avery Elementary School
Berkeley Middle School
Beveridge Magnet Middle School (Omaha, NE)
Boone Elementary (Warrenton, MO)
Cathedral Basilica School
Central Institute for the Deaf
Colfax Upper Elementary School (Springdale, PA)
Craig Elementary School
Crossroads College Preparatory
Delmar-Harvard Elementary
Edgar Road Elementary School
Edgewood Children's Center
Epworth School
Eureka High School
Fanning Middle School
Ford Elementary School
Francis Howell School District
Gateway Middle School
Glenridge Elementary School
Gotsch School
Hazelwood East High School
Helps Homeschool
Highcroft Ridge Elementary School
Highland Elementary School
Hoech Middle School
Holt High School (Wentzville, MO)
Hudson Elementary School
Independence Elementary School
Barbara C. Jordan Elementary
Kennard-Dale High School (Fawn Grove, PA)
Kellison Elementary
Jeffco Homeschool Group
John F. Kennedy Catholic High School
Kennedy Elementary School (Medford, OR)
King of Glory Lutheran School
Ladue Middle School
Ladue Horton Watkins High School
Langston Middle School
Lift for Life Academy
Maplewood-Richmond Heights Elementary School
Marquette High School
Mary Institute-Country Day Middle School
McCluer North High School-SSD
McCluer South-Berkeley High School
C.L. Milton Elementary School (Laredo, TX)
Missouri Fine Arts Academy
Missouri Scholars Academy
Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary
Nerinx High School
New City School (elementary)
North Glendale Elementary School
North Kirkwood Middle School
Our Lady of Guadalupe School
Parkway Central High School
Allen W. Roberts Elementary School (New Providence, NJ)
Robinson Elementary School
Roosevelt High School
Rose Acres Elementary School
Rossman School
SHARE Homeschool network
Shaw Visual & Performing Arts Elementary School
Southview Special School District (elementary)
SSD Community-based Training Program
SSD Vocational Skills Program
St. Catherine Labouré School
St. Clement of Rome Elementary School (Des Peres, MO)
St. Francis of Assisi School
St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf
St. Michael's School (elementary)
Stanton Elementary
Ursuline Academy
Villa Duchesne
Visitation Academy
Webster Groves School District
Westchester Elementary School
Whitfield School
Wilson School (elementary)
Wohlwend Elementary School

Colleges and Universities
Maryville University
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
St. Louis College of Pharmacy
St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley
St. Louis Community College at Forest Park
St. Louis Community College at Meramec
St. Louis Community College at Wildwood
St. Louis University
University of Missouri – Columbia
University of Missouri – St. Louis
Washington University
Webster University

Additional Locations

BJC HealthCare
Big Bear Creek Golf Course
Bi-State Development Agency
Brentmoor Retirement Community
Delta Center for Independent Living
   (St. Charles, MO)
Edward Jones Company Food Outreach
Edward Jones Dome
Ethical Society of St. Louis
Girl Scout Council of Greater St. Louis
Jewish Community Center
L'Arche St. Louis
Magic House
Metro St. Louis
Missouri Botanical Garden
Missouri Foundation for Health
Missouri History Museum
National Conference for Community & Justice
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Reuter’s Corporation
Sandberg Phoenix Law Firm
Sheldon Concert Hall
St. Louis Art Museum
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra On-Stage, Powell Symphony Hall
St. Louis Zoo
Schlafly Branch - St. Louis Public Library
Services for Independent Living (Columbia, MO)
United Access
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Veteran’s Administration Medical Center - John Cochran Division
West County Care Center

Rave Reviews


Organizations

"The group’s theatrical presentation was perfect. Your personal participation was superb; the talent and human interest in the audience was magnificent. It was obvious to all attendees that you knew your subject and that you truly cared about your audience and the subject. In fact, I continue to receive compliments on the CEID program.

I applaud your personal insight and professional assistance with this Federal Executive Board Program."
Lisa M. Dean, Chief, Finance Management, FEB Chairperson,
CEID, Defense Information System Agency

"Without exception, the attendees have said it was the highlight of the day! They loved the injection of humor into the pieces and appreciated being able to get the point, without feeling bad or guilty. Obviously, from the comments and questions, the audience was deeply moved. Good theatre evokes emotional responses, opens dialogue and discussion, and allows the audience to experience the lives of the characters. Your performance was very definitely “good”. I hope we can continue this learning experience at future Missouri Commission on Human Rights events.

Again, thank you for your wonderful contribution to our conference."
Sheryl E. Rose, Regional Manager,
Missouri Commission on Human Rights

"All I can say is thank you. Thank you many times over. Please congratulate each of the performers on an absolutely gorgeous performance."
Rebecca Hutton, President,
Theater of Inclusion, Inc.

" I wanted to let you know the girls really enjoyed the show. The performance kept the girls’ attention and was very well done… I would definitely recommend the DisAbility Project to others and encourage other Girl Scout Troops to attend a show in the future."
Rene Lucas, co-leader of
Junior Girl Scout Troop 916

"I was moved by the self-empowering work that your abled and disabled actors developed and performed. This work captures the best of theater.

Theater has the power to entertain. It can help us remember, and it can help us escape, but, most importantly, theater has the potential to heal, change, and build community. In your performance, the audience is engaged in the present that is a shared moment. Your work offers the audience a way out of stereotyping, preconceived notions, and fearful responses. Because of this, I suggested to the Cathedral that we invite you and the Project to present your work.

I wanted to share the experience of your collaborative work with the people with whom I worship and grow. We witnessed and participated in your performance together with the members of the St. Thomas Church of the Deaf congregation, a group that shares our space on Sundays. Your work helped to instill a new sensitivity in us for each other.

As the Cathedral sets out to rehab the adjoining Bishop Tuttle Memorial Building and return it to its original purpose as an inner city community center, the members of your troupe helped raise our awareness about our limitations as an accessible and welcoming space.

I have a dear friend disabled by seizures, a result of brain injury. He has recently returned to St. Louis for better care. Leaving his relative independence, he was feeling depressed and alienated. You invited him to a Saturday rehearsal, and your welcome into community has changed him.

On behalf of Christ Church Cathedral, I wish you well in your future efforts."
Bonnie Taylor, Member,
Christ Church Cathedral


Schools

"Your touring company was a HIT with the staff and students of Kirkwood High School! I must tell you also that our total student body has never received any group any more warmly than your troupe. They understood you. They were moved by what they saw and heard. When it was appropriate for our students to laugh, they laughed. When the mood called for serious consideration, they did that too. And at the close of both assemblies, the students and staff of Kirkwood High School gave the DisAbility Project performers the standing ovations you deserved.

Bravo for your troupe! Thanks for giving us the chance to see and hear you. Best wishes in your attempt to reach every high school in Missouri. Our students and staff members need to see you."
Franklin S. McCallie, Principal,
Kirkwood High School

"KUDOS to all the performers for their excellent presentation of the DisAbility Project. You delighted the audience with your spirit and determination. We were also enriched by the thoughtful scenarios, the great singing and dancing, the rap, and the beautiful and positive closing words. THANK YOU so much for "making this play happen!” May you keep on performing for many more audiences and sharing this great work. Continued good luck to all of you!"
Laura DuPont, Principal,
Glenridge Elementary School

"The troupe did such an outstanding job today. You enlightened and delighted all of us, children and adults, with your stories, skits, talent, etc....

Thank you so much for sharing your performance with us at Glenridge. We are all a lot richer because of it.

Kudos to everyone, whether it be the performers, director, guest artists or the people who work in the office to manage all of the logistics. I have the deepest respect and admiration for the important work you do."
Roz Dubinsky, Teacher,
Glenridge Elementary School

"The performance yesterday was outstanding!! Tell your performers thanks! I talked to a number of students after the performance and they really enjoyed it. Marsha Demba, Teacher, Marquette High School A+! They (the performers) showed their ability to be a contributing part of our society. They showed life as 'a glass half-full, not half empty!' Best was their ability to relate to the fourth grade audience with fun and confidence. When can you come to our school? Harry Pickup, Kennard Classical Academy "It was excellent. I learned to see situations through the eyes of the performers. The best part of the performance was including the students in the production and your interaction with them. We are definitely looking forward to you coming to our school."
Bonnie Riefer,
Athena Elementary School

"Creative and moving. You realize it could be you. It makes you think how you would respond if it were you. Would hope you could be as gracious and as talented."
Sheri Lyn Terry,
Drama/Speech Teacher/Director

"I am writing to commend the DisAbility Project for its work with our fourth graders. The performance which your troupe did for our kids provided and excellent introduction for the month-long study of disabilities. The vignettes gave the students clear examples of situations faced by folks with a variety of disabilities. These “stories” helped the students to develop an appreciation for the frustrations, obstacles and successes that make life so different, yet similar. I know you made some modifications in the performance to fit the ages of our students; the results were definitely age-appropriate. In addition, the study guide was helpful to teachers and students.

Finally, the opportunity for our students to speak with the troupe’s actors and actresses was also invaluable. Here again, the students could relate the actors’ and actresses’ experiences to their own lives. The conversations were wonderful!

We are already looking forward to doing this again next year. Thanks for all the work you and your troupe put into this effort."
Barbara James Thompson, Assistant Director,
Family Support, New City School

"Thank you for the wonderful performance today! The children were captivated by your creative and entertaining expressions of very important topics. Please tell all of the performers that it touched the lives of students, teachers and parents. Thanks again."
Amy Abramson, Parent,
Rossman School


Colleges/Universities

"I want to thank That Uppity Theatre Company for the wonderful performance you did for us during our ACCESS Award's Ceremony. The presentation was extremely informative and provided an educational experience for all in an enjoyable, entertaining way.

The feedback that we received from students, faculty, staff, and members of the community was very positive. Everyone walked away from the experience with a better appreciation of daily events that may occur in a person with disabilities life."
Linda Nissenbaum, M. A., Manager, ACCESS Office St. Louis Community College-Meramec, disAbility Support Services

"You touched my heart and my mind and so I can only assume that everyone in attendance was touched in some way. So I want to give you one final applause on your performance and say thank you. Thank you for thinking of Maryville University. Thank you for enlightening our community. And thank you for the work that you do everyday that brings ability issues to light."
Danielle J. Carter, Multicultural Programs, Maryville University

"You taught me an invaluable lesson while making it entertaining and creative. I thought the performance was wonderful. I learned so much. I feel really speechless about my feelings. All I can say is, 'Wow!' and 'Well done!'"
Megan McCartney, Graduate Student, Maryville University

"I liked how it was open to bring up topics that may be sensitive subjects in other settings. It is important to address these issues."
Cruz Martinez, Occupational Therapy Student, Maryville University

"To me, the Disability Project means family and friends. The DP provides a comfortable, nonjudgemental environment where I am not afraid to be myself. It allows me to have fun and act with a wonderful group of people who are honest and open. To me, the DP is a community."
Rachel Sieber, Occupational therapy student, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine

"Thank you so much for bringing your group to the Washington University Program in Occupational Therapy last month. My students were deeply moved by the entire program. I don’t think many of them had seen, or even thought about, many of the issues that your group brought forth — dancing in a wheelchair, sexuality, personal pain and jubilation from life — it truly opened their eyes. WE are very fortunate that you were able to bring the group to our Program, and hope that this can be an annual event. Next year I hope, if we are able to have a repeat performance, that Fran Cohen can be in attendance, as she has been a vital force in your program as well as ours.

Thanks again for a wonderful program."
Donna Whitehouse, MHA, OTR/L, Coordinator of Student Clinical and Professional Development, Washington University, School of Medicine, Program in Occupational Therapy

"Your project is wonderful. Every college or school needs to experience this opportunity to view and hear about personal experiences with disabilities. Your group is full of talent. Thanks for giving me the chance to experience this!"
Kate Ebert, Occupational Therapy Student

"Thank you so much for the wonderful production you provided at the Direct Support Professionals Conference of St. Charles County. You made the audience more aware of the importance of their roles, as Direct Support Professionals, play in the lives of people with disabilities.

Keep up the wonderful work. The DisAbility Project is making an impact in the St. Louis area. I look forward to seeing you back at St. Charles County Community College in the near future."
Sherrill Wayland, MS, Inclusion and Training Specialist, St. Charles County Community College

That Uppity Theatre Company • 4466 West Pine Boulevard, Suite 13C • Saint Louis, MO 63108
Box Office: (314) 995-4600 • Office: (314) 534-1454 • MO Relay (TTY/TDD): 711 • Fax: (314) 534-6591
uppityco@att.net